Friday, 02. March 2001
Eckhardt Hemkemeier

Briefausschitte von Richard Moe und Eckhardt Hemkemeier

Professor Richard Moe lebt seit 35 Jahren in Japan. Er unterrichtet Englisch an der Komazawa-Universität und ist auch Schüler von Shimizu Sensei im Tendokan.

Richard und Eckhardt unterhalten sich regelmäßig über:
"Fragen zum Aikido; Philosophie, Lehren und Lernen". Diese Fragen erörtert Richard auch immer wieder mit Shimizu Sensei, der somit hier auch indirekt zur Rede kommt.

Last week a student of another dojo asked me: "How can I make somebody throw (nage) or hold (kime) people soft!" She has week joints and bones. I told her, do you remember the seminar of Pascal Olivier in autumn, Peter Haase in the kagamibiraki, or the last keikos I gave here? Everybody told the people, do slowly, very slowly, soft, not week, very concentrated to the Uke, try to feel his way of doing Ukemi, be soft, not to soft, stricly and....slowly!
She said: "Yes,I remember, but the people don't change..only some of them."
This remind me that most of the people don't listen to the teachers.

"I think it is hard for Westerners to grasp Eastern philosophies, such as martial arts, especially if they have not lived in the Far East. But it is not impossible. I think if people have the desire to become good Aikidoka in the school of Sensei, then they are willing to listen and to learn, and then (perhaps) they will begin to understand concepts which are very different than in the West. Sometimes people listen but cannot hear the message, as you pointed out. Sometimes, as you also pointed, one understands the message after some time has passed. Here, too, only a few of the people really understand what Sensei teaches. They want to understand, but in fact, they don't. But still, they try. They come regularly to practice and that is a good thing because it would really be easier to quit. So perhaps first their body will learn something that later their minds can accept.

What you wrote about the student from another dojo asking about how to make people be more gentle is very important. Sensei is always stressing this point. Often I am scolded and reminded to use less strength and to let the waza do the work. There is no need to be rough or strong, and in fact, often that can work against a person. The smooth, easy performance of techniques is much more effective than anything strong and showy. As Sensei always points out when people do kimewaza: the object is not to hurt the person, but to control them. And tonight, too, he emphasized in both hours that Aikido it the Path of Ki Meeting Ki. The word Ai in Aikido means to meet or come together, blend. In Aikido the goal is to blend one's ki with the opponent; to read the opponent's ki, to meet his ki and thus to gain control of it. Your teaching of the uke is just like Sensei's. He always stresses the basics because it is from the basics that all other waza come. Tonight in each hour we did shihonage. It looks rather easy, but in fact, doing it well is extremely hard. Always Sensei points out ways how I can do it better.

Whether people understand or not is their choice. But as teachers, even if they cannot understand, we still must teach because perhaps one day they will understand what we have taught. Those who have a mind to learn, who are truly and sincerely interested in learning, will listen and with time they will learn. Before the waza can become natural and good, the spirit must also be there. I know that feeling you describe about teaching people things, but I can see from their eyes that they have no idea of what I am saying. Others, though, may not understand, but their eyes tell me that they want to understand, and that is enough! It is a good start. It shows their positive attitude.

Another good point you made is that there should not be competition in the dojo. Competition is for sports. Aikido is not a sport. It is like a philosophy. It is a way of life. It is the Path of Ki Meeting Ki. In Aikido we try to improve ourselves, to make ourselves better as individuals. It has nothing to do with anyone else. We do Aikido for ourselves; not to impress people or become macho types. We do not learn it in order to go to bars in the hopes that someone will pick a fight so that we can use it. We learn it to find peace and harmony within ourselves. But, if someone should be foolish enough to try to cause trouble, without conscious effort, our bodies have the means to easily protect ourselves in a very effective way. But that is not the main goal or purpose, I believe. Of course, being strong and capable to defend oneself is very important, but the reason for that strength is to enable us to individually follow our chosen Paths without being coerced or hassled by intolerant groups or individuals. One must be very strong to be an individual, for without the ability to defend oneself alone, one is then forced to belong to a group for protection and it is the nature of groups to subdue the individuals to the group."